As a baker, I was delighted to discover a wine brand recently called Layer Cake, whose pretty label made me instantly long for a big slice of homemade yellow cake smothered with chocolate frosting. The brand’s wines are produced around the globe, from the Napa Valley and Italy to South Australia. I tried two of the wines – the “Virgin Chardonnay” (crafted from California Central Coast grapes) and the Malbec, made in Argentina.
The stainless steel-fermented Chardonnay (a “virgin” wine, the company claims, because it “never comes in contact with any oak”) was a mouth-puckering disappointment – it tasted of unripe, sour fruit and offered little complexity or generosity of flavor. However, the Malbec was another story – complex, interesting, and delightfully approachable, this inky-purple, friendly wine had scads of soft, ripe fruit flavors (think: sun-warmed blackberries, plums and dark cherries). This wine would be great with lamb chops, braised short ribs, or your heartiest pasta dish. And, come to think of it, the Malbec would be fabulous partnered with a slice of dark, rich chocolate cake.